We need Republicans

Dear Republicans,

We need you! We need the Republicans we once knew and hope to see again. We are a two-party system and to be effective we need two parties with a core of integrity at the center of their beliefs and dreams.

We are a nation still struggling to approach the aspirations that we, at our core, still deeply believe in. We wish for these dreams, not just for ourselves, but for all humans on this earth, though we have not always done so in the most effective way.

We fear that in the long run — the only time frame that really matters — Republicans risk the inevitable long-term fallout from this administration’s negative attempts to govern. We all need to recognize that:

1. Our ideals can never be achieved behind sealed borders or by closed minds.

2. Promoting and emphasizing our differences is always destructive.

3. Race or ethnicity is irrelevant to character.

4. Wealth is not a measure of value.

5. Talking is always better than posturing.

So, Republicans, please come home before it’s too late, and Democrats, welcome them in the humble recognition that we, too, have at times gone astray. We have a long way to go to repair the damage already done and we can only do it together.

Richard E. Brown

Stockton Springs

Have to do better

In his letter “Open the door” in last week’s Republican Journal, David Noyes, chief technical officer of Nordic Aquafarms, states, “I find the reluctance of Maine to embrace land-based fish farming to be at odds with the state’s core values.”

The Nordic fish farm proposal estimates extracting 100,000 gallons of fresh water per year from our water district’s groundwater supply (one-half the amount that the Water District pumps to serve residents of the district).

There are up to 15 different chemicals that will be used in the water to “maintain” tank cleanliness, water health and fish health.

The daily effluent flow from the tanks into our bay is estimated over 7 million gallons per day.

These farmed fish will then be prepped and shipped to destinations (mostly) beyond the state of Maine, creating a substantial carbon footprint.

Nordic claims the fish farm project is a sustainable “farming” endeavor.

What in this plan is sustainable?

Freshwater sources all over the world are dwindling and the ocean is warming at an untenable rate. How does this project not add to the further diminishing and degradation of the natural resources we all depend on for our most basic needs?

We are already in a (very likely) irreversible climate upheaval that is adversely affecting the planet and every being on it. We as residents of Belfast and the entire state of Maine can do better than to allow this risky, profit-driven enterprise to attempt an as yet unproven method of raising tons of salmon in tanks on land.

We have to do better!

Conny Hatch


Is this Belfast's future?

A recent Bangor Daily News article looks at the difference between NIMBY and a sense of place, the deep values we hold for the land, water and community where we live. For those of us opposed to the Nordic Aquafarms proposal in its current form and Tractor Supply, our sense of place is threatened, especially for those of us who have lived here for decades.

Like many other Mainers, my sense of place is important to my personal well-being and my community’s. Bringing attention to possible threats and problems is not fear-mongering; it's sensible to look more deeply into an issue. We know from the climate change debate how important it is to use science to take a realistic look at an environmental problem.

What kinds of businesses do we want to support — Nordic agribusiness that is the opposite of family farms or companies like Tennessee-based Tractor Supply, which has to answer only to its stockholders on Wall Street? Is this the Belfast of the future? Is this the best we can do?

Are profits that will be shipped out of state more important than people and our environment?

How will Belfast reduce its carbon footprint, as it has said it wants to do, if a high-carbon use (i.e., electricity) business comes to town?

How do we guarantee that property owners in the Little River watershed will have sufficient water with a “neighbor” like Nordic?

How do we build in the best protections we can for our bay?

How will we support the existing businesses in town — our neighbors who have contributed to our community and been providing us for years with the same kinds of products Tractor Supply sells?

Raising these kinds of questions doesn't mean that you are against change and growth (after all, a third of us voters said a change in City Council would be good). It means you want the future to be consistent with the values of our community.

Belfast has clearly laid out our values in terms of environmental protection and locally owned businesses. How we do it is up to all of us living in the region. Let’s have real conversations among ourselves — the residents of Belfast through a series of town halls in each ward of the city — without the noise of developers from away.

Linda Buckmaster


Never mind that …

In response to the thickening plot of the controversial proposed industrial salmon factory farm slouching toward Belfast:

As I understand it, the Delaware-registered Norwegian corporation Nordic Aquafarms wishes to extract approximately 900 million gallons of local water per year for its proposed operation.

(To put this huge quantity of drinking water into perspective, it's  about the same total amount extracted from multiple sites throughout Maine by bottled water giant Nestle/Poland Springs in a year.)

That would result in 7.7 million gallons of polluted industrial fish tank wastewater ("effluent") Nordic would like to flush into Penobscot Bay every day.

Never mind that other industrial aquaculture corporations want our waters in Bucksport and beyond. Or that industrial aquaculture is risky business.

Or that Belfast is already being sued over Nordic-related problems stemming from the City Council's failure to hold a required hearing before changing zoning laws last spring.

Or that there are at least four pieces of legislation pertaining to industrial aquaculture being introduced by Rep. Jan Dodge and others in Augusta this session.

Or that Nordic and Belfast City Manager Joe Slocum announced separately last week that they're working on a deal where Nordic would fund the purchase (at a discount) of 80 acres of conservation land, "contingent upon the company receiving all necessary approvals for construction and operation of its salmon farm," according to a Nordic press release.

And never mind that multiple parties have publicly expressed interest in purchasing and donating to local conservation organization(s) the 80 acres in question.

Jason Rawn